Read our current issue by clicking on the cover below. Read Light‘s poems of the week
by Brian Allgar
“Lame duck pardons turkey”
“5 Federal Inmates Scheduled for Execution During Final Weeks of Trump Presidency”
—Voice of America
Well, sure, I had to pardon that poor turkey;
“Thou shalt not kill.” That message always stuck.
Believe me, life’s a thing I’ve always valued.
So what if folks are calling me “lame duck”?
But though I value life, in certain cases
A pardon’s something that would really suck.
Before I leave, I’ve planned five executions—
Hey, since they’re humans, I don’t give a fuck!
by David Hedges
Listening to the news with half an ear,
I am dumbfounded by the words I hear.
Abe Lincoln’s been appointed to a post
In Biden’s inner circle. Could Abe’s ghost
Have risen in our hour of greatest need?
His name’s A. Blinken, as I later read.
by Julia Griffin
“The seven-inch-tall northern saw-whet, one of North America’s tiniest owl-species, was found
nestled inside the base of a 75-foot-tall spruce tree that had been chopped down in upstate New York and transported by truck to … Rockefeller Plaza, to be erected as its annual iconic Christmas tree.”
That’s not my name. I hope you’ll not confuse
My kinsfowl with some oily parvenus;
Nor would I say I’m “tiny”: seven inches
Is twice (at least) the length of many finches.
I hate to boast, but I’ve a pedigree
That might surprise you. That first hacked-down tree
The Lorax popped from? My great-grandma’s place:
A blameless victim of your axe-mad race.
That cherry tree George Washington laid flat?
Two of my foreowls were enfeoffed with that;
And that first pear tree? Auntie’s, every stick,
Till chopped and rented to some partridge chick.
I could go on. Whenever you’ve inflicted
An axe upon a tree, guess who’s evicted?
My luckless kin’s been doomed to nest in vain
Since Birnam Wood took off for Dunsinane.
by Chris O’Carroll
“Austrian village of Fucking to be renamed Fugging”
The village of Fucking is changing its name.
Now Austria’s frickin’ map won’t look the same.
Will dropping their “Fuck” bring the Fuggingers joy?
Perhaps we should ask Effingham, Illinois.
by Dan Campion
“That’s a sacred number, thirty thousand.”
—President Donald J. Trump, commenting on the Dow-Jones Industrial Average
O beautiful for high-rise skies,
Diplomas (for a fee),
Red MAGA caps and long silk ties,
God showers gold on thee!
Don thanks you for your trust!
So, dearest friends: pay dividends
Before his brand goes bust.
by Iris Herriot
“One of the year’s most remarkable linguistic developments, according to the OED,
has been the extent to which scientific terms have entered general discourse,
as we have all become armchair epidemiologists, with most of us now familiar with
the term ‘R number’.
“Before 2020 this was a term known mainly to epidemiologists; now non-experts routinely
talk about ‘getting the R down’ or ‘bringing R below 1’. …
Use of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘BLM’ also surged, as did the term ‘QAnon’,
up by 5,716% on last year. … Use of ‘Brexit’, however, has dropped by 80% this year.”
This year’s new words, it might appear, just bother and encumber,
But one of them we do enjoy: that’s R, the verbal number.
This entity, obscure last year as prehistoric mists,
Makes sense now we’re all armchair epidemiologists:
We’re following the science, never letting mask or guard down,
Workationing remotely, mailing in to get the R down;
We’re flattening the curve, creating bubbles (not for fun),
Intent on bringing R beneath the numeral of 1.
Community-transmissioners unmute but find no takers;
When R is up they’re feeling down, likewise the circuit-breakers;
Though Brexit’s round the corner, it’s less popular by far
Than BLM and QAnon and good old number R.
by Bruce Bennett
As Covid surges and the country sinks,
Where is our modern Nero? On the links.
by Eddie Aderne
“Arts world dismayed at fate of London home of Rimbaud and Verlaine
Graham Henderson, R&V’s chief executive … [said] “the seismic importance of events that
happened there, people are still writing books about. These events have achieved
He was referring to the poets’ devastating quarrel: “Rimbaud leant out of the window as
Verlaine was walking back from Camden market … and shouted a stream of abuse. Verlaine hit
Rimbaud with a fish he’d acquired in the market [and] fled to Brussels. Rimbaud, contrite,
immediately followed … Verlaine shot Rimbaud, wounding him … and went to prison for a
couple of years for that.”
Though “mythic status” might sound meretricious,
Few are the homes where bards have wielded fishes—
An act which shows at least good, honest muscles,
Unlike the gun Verlaine deployed in Brussels.
by Ruth S. Baker
“Helicopter pilot finds ‘strange’ monolith in remote part of Utah
State employee spotted mysterious metal structure amid red rocks
while counting bighorn sheep”
A helicopter pilot, counting sheep
(Not, to be clear, for purposes of sleep)
Spotted a metal structure down in Utah:
Amid red rocks, a streak of shiny pewtah.
We know that UFOs are but a myth:
So we assume this lonely monolith
Is nothing but a tribute, or a rubric
To show us what we know of Stanley Kubrick.
by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
“A rainbow mural of seven Winston Churchills wearing stockings and suspenders
which prompted a complaint… because of the wartime prime minister’s
trademark V-sign is to be allowed to remain in place.”
As every schoolchild knows, or must suppose,
“Up yours!” is not what Churchill’s V-sign meant,
Though painting him in underpants and hose
Unwisely welcomes priggish discontent!
Resolved that Winston’s mural was too rude,
Naff Brighton Council ordered: “Overpaint—
Obscenity in public shan’t be viewed!” …
No trousers on, did that cause this complaint? …
All in the nick of time, the truth came out:
Vast ignorance of Churchill’s time prevailed.
Some councillors, in law, may have some clout.
In history, abysmally, all failed! …
Go see the mural as it was before—
No longer rude, its V means “won this war!”